The Rule V Draft quietly closes out the Winter Meetings every year and that means the draft is kicking off. The KC Royals could definitely lose a player (Jon Keck) and could select a player at number 8 (though they have a full 40-man roster). Because so many teams have full rosters, this could be a fairly quiet draft.
Here is a run down of the Rule V Draft:
Major league teams must protect players on their 40-man rosters within three or four years of their original signing. Those left unprotected are available to other teams as Rule 5 picks.
Players who were 18 or younger on June 5 preceding the signing of their first contract must be protected after four minor league seasons. Players 19 and older must be protected after three seasons.
… each Rule 5 pick must be kept in the major leagues the entire following season or be offered back to his former team for half of the $50,000 selection price.
Not surprisingly (at least to me), the Houston Astros took right-handed reliever Josh Fields, who pitched in Triple-A for the Boston Red Sox by the end of last season. I had the chance to see him pitch last year and he has turned his career around. With how bad the Red Sox have been, I was shocked they did not protect him. I see Fields sticking with the Astros and being a key cog in the back end of their bullpen.
The following three players I also saw pitch the last two seasons.
Hector Rondon returned to the bullpen in the Cleveland Indians organization in 2012 after having three injury-riddled seasons (though for just seven innings). He looked good and was glad to be back pitching. He currently is pitching pretty well in Venezuela but was selected by the Chicago Cubs, who also need bullpen help
Danny Rosenbaum of the Washington Nationals was selected by the Colorado Rockies, who are in desperate need of starting pitching. The lefty pitched very well in Double-A and was an Eastern League All-Star (3.94 ERA in 26 starts with 99 strikeouts). It was the first year he had an ERA over 2.59 since signing in 2009.
The Minnesota Twins selected lefty Ryan Pressly of the Red Sox with the fourth pick. He struggled the last two seasons with High-A Salem as a starting pitcher, but after moving to the bullpen, he turned his career around. In Double-A, he made 14 relief appearances to a 2.93 ERA.
The Cleveland Indians selected the current AFL MVP: first baseman Chris McGuinness of Texas. The Indians need a first baseman, so he should get a shot. He hit .268 in Double-A during the regular season, hit 25 doubles, 23 homeruns, and drove in 77.
The Miami Marlins selected LA Dodgers outfielder Alfredo Silverio. Considering no one knows what is going on with the Marlins, he probably has a legitimate shot of making the club out of spring training.
The Red Sox had the seventh pick and after losing two pitchers already, they selected a second baseman (because they do not already have an MVP candidate playing there). They picked Jeff Kobernus of the Nationals, who before being plunked in the ribs in August (and broke a few), was rumored to be a September callup. Like Rosenbaum, he was an Eastern League All-Star and hit .282 with 42 stolen bases. UPDATE: Kobernus was then traded to the Detroit Tigers, which makes a lot more sense.
The Royals had the next pick and they passed, which became the theme for the rest of the MLB phase. Only eight more players were selected over the next 29.
The Royals also passed on the Triple-A and Double-A phase. However, they lost five players in the Triple-A phase (no players were selected in the Double-A phase).